HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NEWS RELEASE: January 24th, 2019
HONOLULU – An infestation of little fire ants (LFA) was reported at a residential neighborhood in Kaneohe and the area was treated today in multi-agency effort involving the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and the Hawaii Ant Lab (HAL). A total of 11 properties covering about two acres were treated this morning, including a 15-meter buffer zone around the infestation area.
On December 13, 2018, a resident on Alokahi St. contacted HDOA to inquire about ants in her home. The resident added that she had traveled to Hawaii Island. On December 19th, staff from HAL retrieved the ant samples which were identified as LFA on December 20th by an HDOA entomologist. On December 21st, HDOA and HAL staff returned to the home and conducted a survey of the exterior of the residence and detected LFA in the patio, carport and along the perimeter of the property. Staff returned on December 24th to survey two surrounding properties which also had LFA.
A larger survey of 12 properties in the area was conducted on January 4th and LFA was found in seven of those properties. On January 9th, another survey of two additional properties was conducted and one was found to have LFA. According to the treatment plan developed by HAL researchers, several types of pesticides and bait formulas are applied on a six-week interval for a total of eight treatments. Monitoring of the area will continue for several years.
In June 2014, an LFA infestation was detected in Mililani Mauka which covered six acres. A similar multi-agency response successfully eradicated the infestation and that neighborhood has been free of LFA since February 2015.
“This coordinated treatment and response plan for this infestation has been proven effective in the past and we appreciate the continued assistance of the different agencies and also the cooperation of the residents,” said Denise Albano, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “This incident also reminds everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspected infestation of little fire ants.”
LFA has been found on Hawaii Island since 1999 and the population is widespread on that island. Since that initial detection, HAL and HDOA have developed a treatment strategy that has helped to prevent the spread of LFA to other islands.
HDOA and partner agencies, including the Invasive Species Committees on Oahu, Kauai, and Maui County and the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) have been asking residents on Oahu, Kauai and Maui County to survey their properties for LFA by using a little peanut butter on a chopstick and leave them in several areas for about one hour. Any ants collected should be put in a sealable plastic bag, placed in the freezer for at least 24 hours and dropped off or mailed to any HDOA office. An informational flyer may be downloaded at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2014/05/LFASurvey.pdf
In addition, the Department of Land and Natural (DLNR) Resources has produced a three-minute video, “How to Test for LFA,” which shows the step-by-step procedure for testing for LFA. The video is available at: https://vimeo.com/97558997
Originally from South America, LFA is considered among the world’s worst invasive species. LFA are tiny ants, measuring 1/16thinch long, are pale orange in color. LFA move slowly, unlike the Tropical Fire Ant, which is established in Hawaii, move quickly, and are much larger with a larger head in proportion to its body. LFA can produce painful stings and large red welts and may cause blindness in pets. They can build up very large colonies on the ground, in trees and other vegetation, and buildings and homes and completely overrun a property.
Suspected invasive species should be reported to the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE – 643-PEST (7378).
Janelle Saneishi, Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Naio Thrips (Klambothrips myopori)
Do you know where naio plants are located? Help us monitor for thrips by letting us know where the plants are located. You can help even more by ADOPTING-A-NAIO on Oʻahu!
If you participate in ADOPT-A-NAIO, you will help monitor naio plant/s of your choosing. It could be be at your favorite beach park, in the grocery store parking lot, around your school or at your workplace…anywhere! You would simply check up on your plant once a quarter (every three months) and let OISC know how it’s doing. If it had damage, just email us a picture and we’ll see if it has naio thrips and if so, will treat the plant.
Naio thrips are likely native to Australia and have caused widespread damage on the popular landscaping Myoporum plants in southern California and in the San Francisco area. They were first detected on Hawaii Island in March of 2009. Naio thrips attack the native Hawaiian naio tree. These thrips are small sucking insects with feathery wings. They harm the naio by scarring of leaf, flower, and fruit surfaces leading to lethal plant damage. Naio thrips can be found on many Myoporum species, but is especially noticeable on our native naio species (Myoporum sandwicense). The leaf curling and gall formation effects of thrips on naio plants will be noticed before any insects are seen. These thrips are small, less than 1/20th inch long, and are shiny dark brown.
Naio thrips damage includes severe gall-like distortion of the new leaves and terminals. Stunting of terminal growth occurs and leaf curling or folding is common. In Hawaiʻi, this recent pest can potentially have devastating effects on our native naio trees which are an important component of lowland and coastal dry forest and comprise roughly one half of the plant biomass of the māmane-naio forest ecosystem.
Damage to naio plants from thrips on the left. The galling, or balled-up leaf tips, can kill the plant.On Oʻahu:
Myoporum thrips (Klambothrips myopori) AKA “Naio Thrips” were detected on Oʻahu on November 23rd. Since then, multiple agencies and many private citizens came together to check 619 naio (Myoporum sandwicense) plants across Oʻahu. Only 42 plants were positive for myoporum thrips (Klambothrips myopori). Positive detections were found at nine sites in Kalihi, Kapālama, ‘Ālewa Heights, Moanalua, Pearl Harbor, Waikīkī and downtown. Although that is a wide geographic range, it is important to note that sites around these infested plants but within the same watershed have been checked and are clear. These are isolated points within these watersheds, the whole watershed is not infested. Most importantly, significant natural sites such as Kaʻena Point and the Kaiwi shoreline do not show signs of thrips.
Seven sites have already been treated or are in the process of being treated. Mahalo to all the ground and land managers that have cooperated with this effort and who have agreed to part with their naio plants in order to save the wild populations.
Naio thrips, which are probably native to Australia and Tasmania, can be transported to new areas in infested landscaping plants and locally via the wind. This pest was first noticed on the island of Hawaiʻi in March 2009. It appears to be spreading across the Big Island (map). There is still a chance of preventing this pest from establishing throughout Hawaiʻi. They haven’t been detected on Kauaʻi or Maui County. Please report any sightings to 643-PEST or OISC if seen on Oʻahu.
For additional information, visit
- HDOA New Pest Advisory: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2013/01/npa09-02-naiothrips.pdf
- Assessing the impacts of an invasive thrips (Klambothrips myopori) infestation on native Myoporum in Hawaii. Cynthia King, Robert Hauff, Leyla Kaufman, and Mark Wright. 2011. http://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/fhm/posters/posters11/WC-DM-10-01Hauff_naiothrips.pdf
- Early Detection and Rapid Response Plans for Myoporum Thrips:
JOINT NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2018
DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
DAVID Y. IGE: GOVERNOR
SUZANNE D. CASE: CHAIRPERSON
AGGRESSIVE RAPID ʻŌHIʻA DEATH FUNGUS FOUND ON KAUA‘I
(Lihue)-Detection of Ceratocystis lukuohia, the more virulent of the two fungal pathogens causing Rapid ʻŌhi‘a Death (ROD), has now been confirmed in three trees on Department of Hawaiian Homelands parcel behind Kalalea Mountain on the east side of Kaua‘i. This first detection of C. lukuohia comes after the other pathogen resulting in ROD, Ceratocystis huliohia, was detected on Kauai in three distinct locations this past year.
“These three trees that tested positive for C. lukuohia were spotted by our rapid response team as they were conducting botanical surveys across the island,” said Sheri S. Mann, Kaua‘i District Manager for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). “Later, a team trekked by foot to visually inspect and take samples from the tree.”
ʻŌhi‘a die for many reasons, although symptoms consistent with ROD include the sudden browning of leaves on limbs or the entire crowns of trees. The fungus is not visible on the leaves or the bark but grows in the sapwood just below the bark. The three trees that were sampled earlier this month stood out in a forest of green, because the entirety of the trees leaves had browned.
Samples were then sent to the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Hilo for the necessary laboratory testing that confirmed C. lukuohia in all three trees.
“This is obviously news we didn’t want to hear,” Mann said. “But within a day of learning the news, we scheduled a helicopter to conduct more digital mobile sketch mapping to identify any additional symptomatic trees. We followed that with pinpoint drone surveys conducted by the UH Hilo Department of Geography SDAV Lab and more tree sampling to try and determine the severity and distribution of the outbreak. It’s been a busy week.”
A benefit for Kaua‘i is the hard-earned research conducted on Hawaii Island where ROD was identified more than four years ago. Hundreds of thousands of trees have died due to ROD on Hawai‘i Island, more than 90 percent due to C. lukuohia. Earlier this year, scientists at ARS described the two-different species of fungi that cause ROD as C. huliohia and C. lukuohia. Both species are new to science.
The difference between the two pathogens is how they move through the tree and how quickly they kill.
“The pathogen enters the tree through a wound; be it a broken limb, twig or, perhaps, a scuffed up exposed root. Whereas C. huliohia may take months to years to kill an ohia tree, C. lukuohia can kill a tree within weeks,” said James B. Friday, the extension forester with the University of Hawaii.
The Kaua‘i ROD Working Group does not know exactly when or how the disease arrived on Kaua‘i-whether it was the result of human activity or on its own, e.g. via the wind.
Once additional lab results and drone imagery are available, the rapid response team will consult with the ROD science team to determine what management actions should be taken.
“Our priority is to save ohia. It has a critical role in the ecosystem’s function,” said Tiffani Keanini, project manager of Kaua‘i Invasive Species Committee (KISC). “We are currently determining the best method to contain the spread and prevent ROD from entering pristine watershed areas. At this point, we are treating the recent outbreak with rapid response actions. As we learn more about the distribution and density of the affected area, we will likely adapt our management strategy efforts.”
The C. lukuohia detection site is located in a remote area at 550-foot elevation. This forest location is comprised of a mix of native trees and plants like ʻōhi‘a, koa, hala, and uluhe that are being crowded out by non-natives such as albizia, java plum, strawberry guava, and octopus trees. Unfortunately, any loss of a native tree will give rise to the faster-growing invasives unless aggressive native tree plantings take place.
As there is no known cure to ROD, prevention is the key to ensuring it doesn’t spread and both Kama‘aina and visitors can help by following these key five guidelines:
1) Keep your eyes open. If you see ʻōhiʻa with a limb or crown turning brown, take a picture, and contact KISC via email (email@example.com) or phone (808-821-1490). Samples of the wood must be taken by trained technicians and tested in a laboratory to confirm the presence of the ROD fungi.
2) Avoid injuring ʻōhiʻa. Wounds serve as entry points for the fungus and increase the odds that the tree will become infected and die from ROD. Avoid pruning and contact with heavy equipment wherever possible.
3) Clean gear and tools, including shoes and clothes, before and after entering the forest and areas where ʻōhiʻa may be present. Brush all soil off tools and gear, then spray with 70% rubbing alcohol. Wash clothes with hot water and soap.
4) Wash your vehicle with a high-pressure hose or washer if you’ve been off-roading or have picked up mud from driving. Clean all soil off tires–including mountain bikes and motorcycles–and vehicle undercarriage.
5) Don’t move ʻōhiʻa wood or ʻōhiʻa parts, including adjacent soil. The disease can be spread to new areas by moving plants, plant parts, and wood from infected areas to non-infected areas.
(All images/video courtesy: DLNR)
HD video-field survey training, digital sketch mapping (May 11, 2018)
- https://vimeo.com/269082425 (shot sheet attached)
HD video-Kauai Rapid Ōhiʻa Death video news release (May 11, 2018)
Photographs-digital sketch mapping, field survey training: (cut sheet attached)
Video-Ceratocystis: Tale of Two Species & Screening for Resistance:
For more on Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death:
Credit: Kauai Invasive Species Committee/Kim S. Rogers:
Seanne Igne (Protection Forester/DOFAW) is pictured while conducting Digital Mobile Sketch Mapping surveys via helicopter.
Kaua‘i Invasive Species Committee
Kim S. Rogers
(808) 634-6667 (cell)
DLNR Communications Specialist
Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources
808-587-0396 (Communications Office)
808-587-0418 (Direct Line)
Information & Community Relations Officer
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
91-5420 Kapolei Parkway
Kapolei, Hawai’i 96707
A sample letter is below, please note your letter will be published on the Legislature’s website, so only include your address or phone number if it is a business.
There are 2 ways you can submit testimony:
1. By emailing the Ways & Means Committee at least 24 hrs before the hearing.
You can email your testimony to the Ways and Means Committee up until 9:30am on Tuesday the 28th at: WAMtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov
2. Register at the Hawaii State Legislature
Website: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/login/register.asp and then submit your testimony online.
Mahalo in advance for your help! Please feel free to call OISC at 808-292-6691 if you have any questions.
Testimony of [name or company/entity name]
Supporting Funding for the Department of Land and Natural Resources’
Watershed and Invasive Species Programs
in H.B. 100 Relating to the State Budget
Senate Committee on Ways & Means
Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 9:30AM, Room 211
I [or_company/entity name_supports] am in strong support of funding for the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ and Department of Agriculture’s invasive species and watershed protection programs.
Invasive species affect everyone. Our water supply is at risk because our forests are at risk, our locally-grown crops are attacked by pests and diseases, our heritage trees like ʻōhiʻa are threatened by disease, and our health and well-being can be harmed by stinging insects and mosquito-borne diseases. However, we recognize that together we can make a difference if we make it a high priority for our government and ourselves to prevent new introductions, control the worst pests already present, educate ourselves and others, and use good science to support our collective efforts.
Feel free to include some specific information about yourself or your organization and why this issue and your ISC is important to you. Information about local jobs created or maintained is also useful to include.]
Thank you for your support.
[name and title – your actual signature is nice but not essential]
5th Annual HISC Awards
Recognizing individuals and groups for their outstanding service to Hawaii in the fight against invasive species.
Award Categories & Recipients:
- COMMUNITY HERO: The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes The Pacific American Foundation for their efforts to reduce invasive species impacts to the Waikalua Loko I’aDuring 2016, the Pacific American Foundation (PAF) diligently worked to reduce the negative impacts of invasive species to the Waikalua fishpond. By positively engaging with the local community, the PAF has shown an outstanding commitment to the continued to protection and preservation this historic community resource.
- BUSINESS LEADER: The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Serina Marchi, of Seascapes Nursery for her efforts to minimize the introduction and spread of invasive species.Serina is the Owner of Kauai Seascapes Nursery on the North Shore of Kauai. Seascapes Nursery is a family owned business operating on Kauai for over 30 years and is one of the largest nurseries on the island. Serina has shown a very strong interest in helping to minimize the spread and introduction of invasive species by supporting Kauai Invasive Species Committee’s (KISC) Pono Endorsement Program. In April 2016, Seascapes Nursery became one of the first nurseries to become endorsed. When choosing the best management practices for her business to follow, Serina has gone above and beyond the minimum requirements to become Pono Endorsed. She not only chose to immediately discontinue the sale of the Pono Endorsement Program “Black List” plants, but also the “Phase Out” list plants”. Her actions during 2016, and continued dedication to reducing the introduction and spread of invasive species will help to minimize future impacts of invasive species on Kauai.
- GREATEST HIT: The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Solomon Champion for his efforts in stopping the spread of Miconia calvescens on Oahu.During a routine aerial survey, Solomon spotted an immature Miconia tree beneath the canopy on the leeward side of the Ko’olau Range within the Waiawa watershed. This particular individual has been identified as the farthest documented tree within an intact native forest, as well as an extension into a new watershed. By spotting this individual tree, Solomon has helped to protect the Waiawa watershed and prevent the spread of a highly invasive species.
- HOTTEST PEST REPORT: The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Shawn Baliaris for his efforts relating to reporting and stopping the spread of Mongoose on Kauai.As a proactive community member, Shawn promptly reported sighting a Mongoose on Kauai to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA). His diligent action allowed for rapid response from the appropriate agencies, and clearly highlights the usefulness of the 643PEST reporting system, and how the community can personally take actions to protect Hawaii from invasive species.
- HAWAII ISLAND MVP: The Hawai’i Invasive Species Council recognizes Carolyn Dillon for her outstanding community efforts and her work controlling Little Fire Ants on Hawaii Island.Throughout 2016 Carolyn has diligently worked to organize her community in a coordinated effort to combat Little Fire Ants (LFA) in her community in Holualoa, West Hawaii Island. Beginning in Late 2015, she became aware of the size of the infestation in her neighborhood and took it upon her to engage community members to treat this pest. More recently, Carolyn has formed a LFA coalition on the Big Island consisting of members of the County Council and State Legislature, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Hawaii Department of Health, the Governor’s Liaison, and the Kohala Center, with the express purpose of furthering LFA education and training, as well as mapping the West Hawaii Infestations. The coalition intends to train business owners on LFA best management practices in order to provide treatment services to homeowners. As a community organizer, Carolyn moved extremely swiftly to increase awareness and has brought many organizations to the table to work together. Her actions and continued dedication showcases the need for community involvement in the fight against invasive species.
- MAUI COUNTY MVP: The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes the Community of Haiku Hill for their efforts to control Coqui frogs on the Island of MauiHaiku Hill is a small a suburb of 39 properties along the border of Maliko Gulch, the site of a major infestation of coqui frogs on Maui. Over the last decade, the Haiku Hill community has transformed from a group of concerned homeowners reporting frogs to partners in coqui control. In 2016 the community truly took matters into their own hands, building tanks, purchasing sprayers, cutting back vegetation, and advocating to funders to address coqui on Maui. Residents sprayed over 1600 gallons of citric acid on their own properties, facilitated a neighborhood citric and sprayer distribution center, and spent countless hours keeping the coqui from spreading from their neighborhood. Their effort not only reduces the frog density in their community, but also helps to stop the spread of coqui to new areas.
- OAHU MVP: The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Sandy Webb for her efforts to incorporate invasive species investigations into the Youth Envisioning Sustainable Futures Program.Sandy has encouraged her students to delve deeper into citizen science by incorporating invasive species investigations into the Youth Envisioning Sustainable Futures program (YES! Futures). http://www.yes-futures.org/about/. This interdisciplinary program she helped found with other Mililani teachers allows students to utilize the skills they develop in many of their classes to address problems in their community and build relevance into their educational experience. For the past two years, Sandy has lead the Little Fire Ant (LFA) Hoike Activity independently in her classes; resulting in the submittal of 269 samples from the Mililani area in the past two years, with 134 samples submitted in 2016 alone. By incorporating invasive species into her teaching, Sandy has encouraged her students to students learn about relevant issues relating to invasive species impacts, and become part of the solution.
- KAUAI COUNTY MVP : The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Kawika Winter for his efforts to protect priority watershed areas and control the spread of invasive species on the island of Kauai.As the Director of Limahuli Botanical Garden and Preserve, Kawika has played a crucial role in the protection and preservation over 1000 acres of priority watershed area on the north shore of Kauai. In addition, Kawika aims to create a model of a functioning, 21st-century ahupua`a. This model focuses on a mountain-to-sea resource management strategy and includes both modern and traditional techniques. By incorporating landscape scale invasive species control efforts, native plant restoration, sustainable fisheries practices, and community engagement into his management practices, Kawika has demonstrated a lasting dedication to protecting and restoring key resources on the Island of Kauai.